Through the ears of my eating disorder

My relationship with food will honestly never be normal.

A lifetime without relapse wouldn’t be enough to change the way I hear the words,

“Wow! What a healthy meal you are eating! Good job!!”

Because instead of hearing you compliment me on my discipline I hear,

‘You are fat so you should be eating healthy.’

And from there it spirals into countless unhealthy thoughts.

I knew that many challenges would come with recovery from an eating disorder but I never thought the way that I hear things would be one of them.

Last week I was talking with my best friend who is also in recovery from an eating disorder when this realization hit me like a ton of bricks.

‘I’m not the only one!’

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if every person who has ever had an eating disorder experiences this to some extent.

Having an eating disorder is like playing a constant game of telephone with yourself.

Your mind is so good at feeding you crap by now that it enjoys manipulating the game.

When living with a brain that is constantly obsessing about food and weight, it can feel like everything is a trigger.

Food is a necessity for survival so you can’t “avoid it” as you can with recovery from most other things.

Multiple times a day EVERY SINGLE DAY you are being tested.

Eating in general can become an anxiety provoking situation entirely.

You are at war with yourself.

And like a sick and twisted death sentence… you must eat to live.

If you have a loved one who has an eating disorder, I’m writing this for you.

Life requires learning other people so that we can all better coexist.

An eating disorder is just another one of those REAL LIFE things to navigate.

Below are some examples of life through the ears of an eating disorder.

Take a moment to intercept this as your loved one.

“Gross! She obviously eats cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!”

‘My worth is determined by a number on a scale…’

“You were too skinny before I’m glad to see you’ve gained some weight.”

‘You are fat now.’

“Exercise is really good for you!”

‘You should be exercising because you’re fat.’

“I’m doing the #%* diet!”

‘You should be on a diet!’

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for doing your part to better coexist!

Check out my blog Project Identity for more! ❤️

Understanding Bulimia

Bulimia is an eating disorder that may live closer than you think.

Why?

Because people who have bulimia are generally of average or above average weight!

I sat down with my best friend and asked her EVERYTHING about her experience with this complicated eating disorder.

This is Brittany’s story. ⬇️❤️⬇️

  • You are so normal… how did this all start?

“Restricting and excessive exercise were the start. I had a strict 1,200cal/day diet. The catch was that if I went even just five calories over then instead of stopping I would just keep eating because I “already screwed up”. Like out of control eating. THEN I would panic and exercise for hours at a time like 3x a day. I could do homework while I ran on the treadmill so it was a sustainable behavior in college.”

  • What is this type of behavior called?

“Bulimia non-purging type with excessive exercise.”

  • What were your beliefs about yourself during this time?

“I thought that having a good body was the only way people would like me. My self worth was completely wrapped up in my body image. ‘I am as worthy as the shape of my body.'”

  • When did your eating disorder behaviors begin to change?

“After graduating from college I didn’t have the time to workout 3x/day.I had a full time job.

Every day became a ‘mess-up day’

Over time it turned into less restriction, more binging, more purging.”

  • Describe what a “binging episode” is like?

“When you’re binging you feel like you’re in a dream- like you aren’t really there. You lose all control and all ability to feel. There were times I likely consumed over 10,000 calories in 30 minutes. As soon as you REALIZE what’s going on and what ALL you’ve eaten, you totally panic and go to purge. You never get rid of ALL the calories you binged though. It’s a vicious cycle.”

  • What is the name for this type of behavior?

“Bulimia.”

  • Was it fairly easy to keep your eating disorder secret?

“Absolutely. I hid it for eight years. I would keep stashes of ‘binge food’ so I could binge and purge without people noticing that huge amounts of food were gone.”

  • When did it reach a point where you decided to seek help?

“Eventually I went to a therapist because I was gaining so much weight and freaking out. I gained 40 pounds in 6 months. That was the only reason I ended up asking for help.”

  • Was seeing a therapist the only form of treatment you did?

“No. Shortly after starting with my therapist, we decided I’d need to start treatment at The Eating Recovery Center.”

  • How was your experience in treatment?

“Initially it was really hard. Almost everyone in the center had anorexia. They would get frustrated if I wouldn’t finish my meal because they didn’t understand why someone of my shape was struggling. There is a shame associated with Bulimia…It’s like your eating disorder is not valid if you don’t look a certain way.”

  • How are you doing now that you’ve completed treatment?

“Binging is very rare now- maybe once every 3/4 months. Purging is addictive though and much harder to get rid of. When you throw up it releases dopamine. It’s an instant anxiety relief when I’m overloaded.”

  • What are your feelings about your eating disorder now?

“It’s FREAKING HARD to get rid of! I have a lot of responsibility now. Recovery is a weird word to me… I don’t know if I’ll ever fully recover and be able to live without these food obsessive thoughts. It’s a process that requires daily maintenance.”

  • How did control play into your eating disorder?

“Binging is such an out of control experience. Once you realize how out of control you were while binging, you panic and want to take back control by purging. Bulimia is a constant battle of control with yourself. It got extremely out of control at one point and eventually led to my entire world coming out from beneath me. I’ll admit that it’s ‘freeing’ not being in that chaos anymore. I feel in control of my eating disorder now.”

  • What do you want people to know about Bulimia?

“It’s sad that there is a shame surrounding binge eating. People don’t look at it as a life threatening problem. Anorexics are typically forced into treatment because they are so thin. Bulimics have to find the courage to seek help because the warning signs just aren’t there. You can die from bulimia. Even if someone looks healthy they may be lacking nutrients. When you binge it’s typically all junk food. When you purge it releases nutrients. That can mess with your mineral levels among other complications. Throwing up your food is not a healthy behavior no matter what size you are.”

“I’ve learned that my emotions are what they are but they aren’t controlling me anymore. People with eating disorders try to suppress their emotions. You are aloud to feel the way you’re feeling. Accept your feelings for what they are. Try to weigh the consequences of “just doing it once” and be aware of how quickly it can spiral out of control. I said, ‘this is the LAST time!’ more times than I could possibly count. Re-establishing your individual identity apart from your eating disorder is really important. My eating disorder is named Nikki.”

(Read more about Nikki by clicking this link, Meet Nikki)

“Nikki isn’t putting the blame on something else. Nikki is silencing my own thoughts and separating them from my actions.”

You can find more information on eating disorders by clicking the link below.

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EATING DISORDER HELP

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Project Identity❤️

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